Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Apartment Composter

I've long been interested in composting at home, even before I read Garbology, but the problem has always been that I live on the second floor of an apartment, don't have a lawn and therefore have no way to use any compost I might create.  I used to work with a woman who was a Master Composter, which is really a thing, she has a certificate and everything, and she always had a bucket on the counter for us to put food scraps in.  It never smelled, only got fruit flies when it had been sitting there for a very long time, and I started thinking that maybe this is something that I should try for myself.

But it always came back to: what do I do with compost?

I finally figured that out.  I had heard that sometimes Whole Foods will take compost, so I looked into that.  It seems that my local Whole Foods do not, but there is a truck that comes to the Farmer's Markets that does!  So now I just need to figure out a system to make this work in my apartment, and see how ambitious I am about actually dropping it off.

First order of business is finding a container.  These are the containers that my boss used to bring into work:
They worked well, had a charcoal filter to reduce stinkiness, but they cost $20, and since I'm in the experimental phase, I don't want to spend any money yet.

I emailed her to ask if she has a spare bucket I could borrow til I'm ready to commit.  Then I put an ad on Freecycle to see if anyone has one they can give up.  I haven't gotten any nibbles from Freecycle, but my former boss got back to me and said that you don't need a fancy bucket, any pail will do as long as it has a lid. She suggested a 32 ounce yogurt container, which I have plenty of.

Next wrinkle: Convincing BF that we should do this.

We have had many issues with household pests in the past.  We lost an entire cupboard's worth of food to pantry moths last summer, so naturally, he's a bit skeptical about keeping food waste on hand for two weeks or more.  I decided the best route to go would be to start with coffee grounds and eggshells.  Both are very compostable, both are things we use a lot, but neither should get stinky or attract bugs.

I've also decided to upgrade from the 32 ounce yogurt container (cause with coffee it would fill up right away) to a one gallon ice cream pail, which means that BF will have to eat one gallon of ice cream first.  That should make him more amenable.

Right now, this is very much in the experimental phase.  We'll see how it works for us, and we'll see how ambitious I am about bringing it to the farmer's market.  I'm really excited about this though--strangely excited.  This is something that I've wanted to try for so long, I'm just thrilled that I found a way to (potentially) make it work!


  1. I've wanted to do this too, but haven't tried it! I'm interested to see how you make it work. Our big thing is making sure the dogs don't get into it.

  2. Creating a compost bin is one of the main things that Jason and I can't wait to set up at the new house!

  3. my husband and I compost! We use a large tupperware container with a lid. We juice often, so we always put the waste in the container, as well as coffee grounds, shells, and the peels of vegetables we don't eat. Then we dump it in a ditch in our backyard (actually, my husband made a little section that's closed off from our dog, and we put it in there). The turnover is super high, and then we use it for dirt for our herb garden and veggies garden!